Fernando Alonso admits McLaren-Honda “did not have the pace” to extend its points-scoring form at the Canadian Grand Prix, calling the event “the most boring of all races”.
The British team and Japanese manufacturer had been braced for a tough weekend at power track Circuit Gilles Villeneuve but their recent momentum added to the turbo upgrade they brought to Montreal still gave them some hope.
Despite having made it into Q3 for the third time in a row, Alonso could not build on his promising qualifying performance and had to settle for a spot on the cusp of the top-10 positions.
“It was a tough race as we didn’t have the pace to be competitive,” the double world champion said. “We tried our best but we have to improve for the next one.
“The worst thing was the lack of pace and the lack of speed on the straights, but we knew that before the race. I guess all our direct rivals went for two stops and they were going a lot faster than us.
“We opted to go for one stop and did more than 50 laps with one set. I couldn’t really attack but it was the best strategy for us. We were trying to get one point, nearly got it when [Nico] Rosberg spun at the chicane [on the final lap], but it was not to be.”
Towards the end of the race, a frustrated Alonso asked his team “I stop now?” over the radio but McLaren urged him to stay out in case something happens ahead of him.
While it was initially thought the 35-year-old was willing to retire the car, Alonso, who was also hampered by a slow pit stop, explains he actually wanted to take on fresh tyres and lap faster in the closing stages.
“I had already done 55 laps with that set of tyres, so it was quite difficult to keep it on the track. Maybe we had the possibility to do three stops, without losing any points today but going a bit quicker and enjoying the laps. But the team thought it was a bit of a risk, as we might get a point at the end, so we stayed out.
“We also had a problem in the pit stop, as the lights never came on and that cost me a lot of points. When I saw I was down in 14th place I immediately thought there wasn’t going to be a Safety Car, yellow flags, nothing, as that’s always what happens when you are behind… and nothing happened, so it was the most boring of all races.”
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